Captured in the woods - case studies

6th March 2014


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Victoria Spooner

Vicky West shares case studies of the type of forestry creation projects registered with the woodland carbon code and details of where firms can buy credits

Ministry of Defence

In 2011, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) embarked on a pilot project with the Woodland Trust to develop new woodland at its Warcop training area in the Eden Valley in Cumbria. The project aims to provide the MoD with enhanced training facilities and to capture carbon. It was financed through the sale of pending issuance units to corporate organisations and a contribution from North Pennines Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty Partnership. The project has seen 160 hectares of grassland planted with a combination of ash, rowan, oak and other broadleaf trees, which will sequester more than 90,000 tonnes of CO2 over 100 years.

The new woodland will also offer valuable sanctuary to species such as black grouse, and will increase the ability of the site to reduce the severity of local floods, as well as stabilise soils. The project provided an opportunity to engage the local community, with hundreds of hours of volunteer work donated.

In the longer term, there may be opportunities for harvesting wood for fuel, which will help to further reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels. David Olney, at the defence estates, said: “This excellent initiative allows us to improve training facilities, while securing significant conservation and environmental benefits at no extra cost.”

Green Insurance Company

The Green Insurance Company joined forces with Forest Carbon Limited in a project to plant 34 hectares of new woodland at Kidburngill Farm near Workington in Cumbria. The insurance firm became involved to satisfy its commitment to lock up the CO2 equivalent to the annual emissions from the vehicles it insures. The firm provided 35% of the project funding.

Planting started in 2010 and the scheme became the first in England to achieve validation under the woodland carbon code. It has planted a mix of oak, alder and ash trees on what was previously heavily grazed pastureland and is predicted to capture nearly 19,000 tonnes of CO2 over the next century.

Landowner James Osborn, commented: “Our native broadleaf woodland will provide links to adjacent woodlands and a much needed habitat for birds. The choice of tree species reflects this.”

Thorlux Lighting

Manufacturing company Thorlux Lighting wanted to compensate for some of the unavoidable emissions of greenhouse-gases from its production processes, so in 2008 purchased a farm, Cwm Fagor in Monmouthshire.

The Worcestershire-based company has since created nearly 30 hectares of native woodland at the site, planting a mix of species, from oak and alder to douglas fir and red cedar. Thorlux Lighting received a woodland grant, but funded the remainder of the planting and management costs itself, meaning that the firm now owns a resource that will sequester more than 15,000 tonnes of CO2 over the next 100 years.

As well as soaking up carbon, the Cwm Fagor wood will provide new habitat for wildlife and walking links between three isolated ancient semi-natural woodlands, as well as produce timber. Thorlux Lighting also plans to use the site for educational purposes.

Where to buy carbon units

Through a specialist carbon company – a list is available at

Through the Markit Environmental Registry’s request for information platform – contact

Through the UK carbon reporting framework at

By finding a project locally. The Forestry Commission can help locate potential projects.

For more information on the woodland carbon code visit:

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